Missouri Debating Right to Farm Bill

The Missouri state legislature is considering a right to farm bill that would severely restrict the ability of state agencies from regulating agricultural production and would protect farmers from a wide variety of lawsuits.

Right to farm bills have become increasingly popular as rural communities shrink in the face of suburbanization. Increasing urban and suburban centers, which have been steadily encroaching on farmland for years, often pass strict municipal regulations, setting new standards for noise and air pollution, regulations that make sense in urban areas, but make it difficult to farm.

Some farmers have found themselves the targets of lawsuits by their new suburban neighbors, many of whom argue that odor and noise from large-scale farms can be a nuisance.

In response, states like Missouri have passed, or are considering passing, right to farm bills that would limit the ability of suburbanites to sue.

In addition to regulating lawsuits, the Missouri bill would limit the ability of special interest groups to pass agricultural regulations through petition drives.

“We have outside sources: P.E.T.A. and H.S.U.S. Yes, they started with the puppy mills, but we’re dealing with them with cage layers, gestation rates in the hog industry,” said Representative Bill Reiboldt, one of the main sponsors of the bill.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer